Tag Archives: sauce

My Big Fat Greek Moussaka

Sometimes you’ve got to have a big cheesy sauce topped, rich red wine sauce soaked moussaka to end your day. I love it, and make it with aubergines and potatoes. And an enriched bechamel sauce.

The Greek moussaka is traditionally a layered dish comprising of aubergine, a tomato sauce based meat layer, and a cheesy sauce topping (my enriched bechamel). And as I’ve said before in a previous moussaka post (yes- it’s so good I’ve written a second recipe), the turkish version is NOT layered.  But equally as good.

As a dinner offering, this one is quite labour intensive. The aubergines need to be sliced and cooked, the potatoes need to be peeled and par boiled, the mince and tomato sauce needs a long slow cooking time, and the sauce needs last minute assembly.  So not your jamie-oliver-15-minute-meal really.  But worth it.  Trust me.

 

My Big Fat Greek Moussaka

Ingredients:

1 aubergine, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons of olive oil (preferably greek!)

500g good quality minced beef

1 tin of tomatoes

½ bottle of red wine

1 bay leaf

300g potatoes

25g butter, melted

25g flour

250ml of full fat milk

200g of grated cheddar cheese, a vintage one is preferable

1 egg yolk

Seasoning
Moussaka

Method:

Aubergine Layer:

Using 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, oil a roasting tray. Preheat the oven to 1800C.  Thinly slice the aubergine and lay the slices on the tray.  Roast for about 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Meat Layer:

Add the remaining olive oil to a heavy based saucepan and heat gently.  Brown the minced beef very slowly.  Season well.  Add the tinned tomatoes, the bay leaf and the wine.  Cook very, very slowly over a very low heat for at least two hours, cover the saucepan partially to prevent too much moisture escaping.  Set aside.

Potato Layer:

Peel and place the potatoes in a pot of cold salted water.  Cover and bring to the boil.  The potatoes can be left over ones, and you can slice the uncooked potatoes before you boil them, if it’s easier.  Bring to the boil and cook for 8 minutes until half cooked.  Drain and set aside.

When you are ready to assemble, melt the butter, add the flour and stir continuously over a medium heat for one minute to cook the flour out.  Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  Bring to a simmer and stir until thickened.  Remove from the heat, add and add half the grated cheese.  Stir in the egg yolk just prior to adding the sauce to the dish.

 

 

Moussaka

Grease the baking dish, add a layer of potatoes, then a layer of aubergines, then add the mince (remove the bay leaf first).  Repeat the layers on top, and add the béchamel sauce.  Add the rest of the grated cheese, and bake for 30 minutes.

Moussaka

For extra carb loading serve with a baked potato and some green beans. Divine.

Moussaka

 

The ongoing Birthday cake sagas

We are onto the final stretch of birthday cakes for my youngest.  And, to be fair, 13 is a big achievement.

The “official” birthday cake choice was oreo.  Oreo’s in the sponge, oreo’s in the icing, oreo’s in the decoration.  I hope everyone likes oreos.

The second birthday “surprise” cake was chocolate, covered in ganache, with fresh cream and raspberries.  But the birthday surprise was a photo of her and her beloved pony on top!

By the time I’d made them both, I really wasn’t hungry-

Oreo Cake

Oreo Cake

But of course there was the matter of the main course also, we went with the kids favourite Roast Chicken, with a whole roasted salmon for the adults.  Roast chicken is always popular on birthday party days, and it helps that it can be cooked a little while in advance and then carved and kept warm.  We had to remove the head and tail of the salmon, although we did cook them separately for the cats!  I also made the traditionally requested “butter” sauce, which is a cheats hollandaise that I make in the Kenwood.

Salmon ready for the oven

Salmon ready for the oven

My sister in laws were both bringing something to accompany the mains, so I did a large dish of gratin potatoes, a green salad, and some lovely tomatoes.

Home grown Green Salad (except for the cucumbers)

Home grown Green Salad (except for the cucumbers)

My Cheat’s Hollandaise:

Take 225g of butter and melt it slowly, in a liquidiser (or a bowl if you’ve a hand held mixer) put two egg yolks, a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of cold water, and a couple of good grinds of black pepper. Whisk these until combined well, then VERY VERY SLOWLY add the melted butter, whisking constantly (or with the liquidiser on slow).  Once all the butter has been added it should be a little thicker than the consistency of homemade mayonnaise. Store in a warmed travel mug until needed, but not for longer than 1 hour before use.

A melody of tomatoes

A melody of tomatoes

The buffet table

The buffet table